Foton Maritzburg Varsity came so close to knocking Acer Durban Collegians out of the Castle Murray Cup knockout competition at the home of Collegians on KP 10. A last gasp penalty by Collegians flyhalf Quinton Crocker secured a 20-18 victory for the home side but it was oh-so desperately close for the side that has won the coveted trophy on more occasions than any other side in the province.
It certainly was a great advert for the club game with the ‘Whites’ giving it their all against their more favoured hosts, who by their coach Ray van Noordwyk’s own admission, are lucky to still be in the competition and further admitted that the better side on the day lost the game. Calvin Adam played his last game for Varsity and was deservedly awarded the R1500 Castle Man of the Match Award. The talented under 20 player, a product of Maritzburg College who represented Natal Schools will sadly be lost to Western Province next year.
It was also the last home game for Collegians' stalwart Rudi Dames who is looking forward to a career in coaching. He really has been a great ambassador of the club game in so many ways and we wish him well.
Collegians' points came from a try from No 8 Ulrich Pretorius together with a penalty try and two penalties and two conversions from Crocker. Varsity replied with tries from Adam and flyhalf Wessel Booysen who also converted one and kicked two penalties. For Varsity it does now auger well for them as they can now look forward to the Varsity Cup next year and a bumper Centenary year.
In the another quarter-final game, 2009 champions Jonsson College Rovers stormed to an impressive 52-17 win over Thanda ZRA Zululand Rhinos with the Rovers skipper Justin Downey who was named Castle Man of the Match also bidding farewell to the province having been sent to Griquas on loan from the Sharks - indeed a crippling blow for his club who would dearly like to have a good crack at taking the honours at the SAA Club Championships in Stellenbosch in September. Once again, Rovers wing Anton Verster was on song with three magnificently worked tries, while Wes Dunlop also crossed for two and added six conversions making him now by far the top points scorer in Premier Division club rugby this year.
Their other tries went to fast improving flanker Kosie Haarhof, looking better with every outing after his long 18 month lay off due to injury, lock Anton Bresler and hooker Jody Jenneker.
In the other games, Envirosan Old Boys made heavy weather of their 20-9 win over First Division side South Coast Warriors while Goss and Balfe Crusaders appear to peaking just at the right time and with Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius in harness were good value with their 39-19 victory over Airtron Harlequins on their home grounds at Ranleigh Crescent in Durban North
Crusaders will host the semi-finals on Saturday with Old Boys meeting Durban Collegians in the opening game at 1pm followed by the main game at 2.30pm between the hosts and Rovers. The games have been scheduled for an early start so the teams and spectators can watch the Tri-Nations test between the Wallabies and the Springboks.
Rovers' second-stringers will also be looking to take the double when they face Crusaders in the semi-final of the Peter Taylor Cup while Collegians face Oldies in the early game. Vryheid, ChemSpec Jaguars and Gestetner Maritzburg Collegians are the front runners for the Junior Murray Cup.
The Starlite Aviation Under 19 Cup will be hosted by Durban Collegians tonight (WEDNESDAY) Harlequins playing Midlands at 6pm followed by Collegians hosting Old Boys in the main game.
Durban Collegians will be having their Rugby Dinner on Saturday 11th September in the Basil Medway Room at the ABSA Stadium, 18h30 for 19h00. Dress is smart and cost is R120 p/p. If you wish to attend please contact Dale Toy on to book your place.